DEAN Saunders faces a selection headache ahead of tonight’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area quarter-final against Crewe at Gresty Road.
Midfielders David Syers and Paul Keegan are both out.
Syers picked up a knock to his ankle late on in Saturday’s FA Cup round two defeat at Oldham and although an X-ray has ruled out a break, the joint is badly bruised.
Keegan will sit the game out after picking up a fifth yellow card in stoppage time.
Several other players on duty at Boundary Park, including veteran striker Robbie Blake and defender Tommy Spurr, were suffering from bugs yesterday and didn’t train.
Neither did defender Jamie McCombe, who made a welcome return from a long-term on the bench. He was also under the weather yesterday.
Better news for Saunders, who admits that he will have an eye on Saturday’s league game at Swindon, is that both striker Iain Hume and leading scorer David Cotterill, ruled out Saturday due to a one-match ban, are both available.
Striker Billy Paynter and midfielder James Harper trained yesterday after missing the Oldham game and could come into contention, though Saunders is unlikely to take a gamble with either if he has any doubts.
“The problem that I’ve got is that I’ve got to field seven of the starting line-up on Saturday to fit in with the competition rules,” said Saunders.
The Doncaster boss told The Star that he is keen to remain on the Wembley trail and hopes that whatever side he turns out will be good enough to see off the Railwaymen.
“I want to see people out there who want to win and people who are prepared to do all the ugly stuff,” he said.
Whoever he plays tonight Saunders says he is expecting a tough game.
“When people think of Crewe they always think of them as a team which likes to play good football,” said the Welshman.
“But they are also a big unit and they aren’t a pushover by any means. Davis and Evans are two big centre-backs and midfielder Murphy is also over 6ft as is striker Pogba, who I signed when I was in charge at Wrexham.
“I worked hard with him there and I’m pleased to see him doing well, though I wasn’t so pleased when he scored with a header when they beat us 2-0 at home earlier in the season.”